Archive for October, 2014
Jim Froling of 949Local asked if an agency should put all of its clients under a single Apple ID or set up a unique Apple ID for each one. A good question as Apple Maps Connect has instantly become a critical part of every local marketer’s to-do list. While the real answer is “who knows?”, my theory of the moment is you should set up a unique ID for each client. Here’s why:
- We have no idea how Apple is going to evolve Maps Connect. Unique IDs for each client allows a lot more flexibility for testing as Apple rolls out new features.
- When agencies set up a master account for Google Analytics or Google Webmaster Tools that includes a large number of different clients, it often can be problematic for the client to gain control of their accounts if they part ways with the agency. Unique IDs makes it more likely that you can give the client control if they want it. And you should probably be using the client’s domain in their Apple ID email address.
I imagine there are going to be a lot of bumps in the road for agencies as this service grows. IMO the best policy at the moment is to try to anticipate how this system could screw you down the road and take the path that seems most likely to avoid the screw.
UPDATE 10/23/14: As you can see, their bulk listing process may not be up and running just yet. I would still submit just to get in the queue.
I have received a few questions over the past 24 hours since Apple Maps Connect launched about how to submit multi-location business listings to Apple Maps. At the moment, Apple Maps Connect does not support large multi-location businesses via self-service. According to the Apple Maps Connect Help section, if you have more than 100 locations, you can send Apple Maps a file with the updated info via firstname.lastname@example.org
As far as I know there’s no specific format for the file, but I doubt you can go wrong with a csv that includes all of the fields you can submit as an individual business:
Map Location (you can move a pin on the map to fix)
Place Status (i.e. is the business open or closed down)
Categories (you can select 3 top level categories and a sub-category for each such as Pets > Animal Shelters. You can also suggest categories. Phil Rozek has put together a category list in a Google Doc.)
For more tips on Apple Maps Connect see our Apple Maps Connect FAQ.
Today a retailer client, let’s assume they are called “Bingo’s”, pinged me because they had sold one of their locations, let’s say to “Bozo’s”, and their brand was still appearing on the business’ Yelp profile. So when you searched “bingo pleasanton ca” in Google the Bingo’s Pleasanton Yelp profile showed up as the top result. The problem was that Bozo’s had created a Bozo’s Pleasanton Yelp profile but Bingo’s had never shut down or changed the name of the old Yelp profile. And this was happening across all of their local listings on various sites such as YP.com, MerchantCircle, etc.
The Google solution was pretty simple – we used Yext Powerlistings to instantly change the names on all of the Bingo’s Pleasanton profiles in Yext’s network and we updated their Google My Business page and the information at the main data aggregators. In some cases this involved closing down the Bingo’s listing at the data aggregators. Most SEOs would stop there and think that their work was done. Wrong.
A quick search for “Bingo’s Pleasanton” on Apple Maps revealed that there was both a Bingo’s Pleasanton listing and a Bozo’s Pleasanton listing. Even though we had fixed the issue at the data aggregator level which in theory would find its way eventually to Apple Maps, that still doesn’t mean that it would get fixed in Apple Maps. So we used the “Report a Problem” feature and marked the business information as “incorrect” and submitted the name change to the Bingo’s listing. Alternatively, we could have marked the location as closed, but I wanted to see if Apple Maps could figure out to merge the two listings based on the name change. We’ll see.
The moral of the story is that because Apple Maps data does not show up in Google, marketers are likely to forget about it when doing big things like changing brand names, changing addresses, etc. Apple Maps is one of the most used local search services on the planet. Ignore it at your business’ peril.